Tags: Wine. Wineries. Red. White. Australian. Queensland
A few weeks ago we noted the contribution that Mr Tom Angove made to the Australian wine industry when he invented the first wine cask in 1965 which after some improvements went on to introduce thousands of consumers to the pleasures of wine drinking Australians, if you have Foxtel and have access to the history channel keep your eyes open for a program on this invention in one of the segments ‘Australian inventions that changed the world’ where his son John Angove discusses how it all came about.
I received an email from a reader enquiring about serving an aged wine and it had me thinking about whether to let a wine breath just remove the cap or cork or decant a red wine or not and does age matter? A friend has an aerator, which after removing the cap you stick the aerator in the top and simply pour the wine into your glass. He carries out this maneuver regardless of age and swears the wine is always improved and this is certainly a process which you need to adopt with wines that are older than 5 years and only red wines because as they age they often develop sediment, which isn’t the case with white wines.
Just removing a cap or cork really isn’t a successful way of letting a wine breath because of the size of the neck of the bottle so If you don’t possess an aerator don’t despair simply use an empty clean glass container which holds more liquid than the bottle or a decanter should you have one. Stand the bottle up for a couple of hours still sealed with the cork or screw top, this will allow any sediment to sink to the bottom of the bottle, then remove the enclosure being very careful if it is a cork as there is a good chance an old cork will break up if you attack it too aggressively.
Very carefully and slowly pour the wine into your glass container and if there is any sediment in the bottle it will show as a vein towards the end of pouring, stop pouring as the sediment isn’t very pleasant if left in the wine. You have just aerated the wine so you don’t really need to leave it for very long and the older the wine the quicker it will start to spoil, now is the time to enjoy your purchase or cellaring.
Another friend who always enjoyed a rum and coke after work to relax after his days’ labours decided to try and develop a taste for wine so Shiraz was his choice, which I think was a very brave way to start your journey of wine enjoyment. As a rule I wouldn’t mention Nick by name but I think a more gentle introduction to the pleasures of wine drinking would have been the way, maybe a Merlot, a Rose, even something either fruitier or even sweeter for a while then move up the scale to a Cabernet Merlot or even a Pinot Noir from The Great Southern of Western Australia which tend to have overtones of strawberries.
Anyway, Nick went full throttle and tells me he is getting to grips with his newfound joy but I have suggested that he should track down a Shiraz/ Viognier as they tend to be a little softer than a straight Shiraz. Actually Viognier is a white wine grape variety but a small amount of around 5% has a softening effect on Shiraz and for a time was on almost every label but I think many wine drinkers were put off with this addition to the label so it has started to disappear off the labels but I think it probably is still in the wine.
Australia probably has the most flexible rules when it comes to winemaking because unlike the French and Italians who in certain areas try to protect their appellations with very strict rules about what is actually planted in the vineyards and control which grapes go into the bottles. Here in Australia as long as one grape variety amounts to 85% of the wine in the bottle winemakers can blend the other 15% with whatever grape varieties they want without showing them on the label, or even where the grapes came from and still name it after one region.
Each country that produces wine has varieties that suit the climate more than others and tend to be the wines which are promoted more than others. Here are a few examples if you want to experiment a bit.
Argentina: Malbec is the primary grape variety grown here and Mendoza is the region to look for if you want to try the best red wines.
Spain: Tempranillo grapes are grown throughout Spain but the best red wines to look for are named Rioja and have several classifications.
Reserva: The period of aging in oak barrels and bottles must be a minimum of three years with a minimum of twelve months in the barrel.
Gran Reserva: These wines must spend a minimum of 2 years in oak barrels supplemented with aging in the bottle for at least three years.
South Africa: The local red grape variety is Pinotage which can be a bit hit and miss either making superb wines or pretty ordinary wines. Since the removal of apartheid winemakers have been free to plant whatever varieties they want, whereas before many restrictions were in place, and there are very good Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons and Shiraz being made.
South Africa has some of the oldest planted vineyards in the world and many of our grape varieties, especially in Western Australia, came from this region. South Africa is well regarded for producing very good Chenin Blanc although again it is buyer beware as many vineyards produce a sweet style of this variety. The main wine-growing district is Stellenbosch, look out for wines from Ernie Ells who opened a vineyard in the late 1990s.
The Napa Valley California: I love this region as it has the ability to produce many outstanding wines including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot however to experience something different go for a Zinfandel which is a grape variety that stands out from this region but go for the red variety.
This week I found a fabulous Jim Barry Watervale 2018 Riesling at BWS which had a cost of $20. I suppose I was impressed with the medals on the label and the history of Jim Barry Rieslings which have always been top draw. Unlike red wines which are submitted to shows often from the best barrel in the winery white wines come out of large stainless steel tanks so you should be buying a wine that is the same as the medal-winning wine which has won a swag of awards from all over the country.
The wine is bone dry, has citrus aromas of lemons and limes which would certainly suit seafood or spicy Asian dishes, give it a try.
Cheers, Philip Arlidge [email protected]
A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all of the books in the world.
God only made water, man-made wine.